The date on the Kil-Kare Speedway scoreboard flashed 6/26/18 on Sunday. It certainly felt like old times at the 3-8th-mile, modified-D track.
Bo Hoelscher was setting a blistering pace to win another compact series race. And track regulars Justin Alsip, Brandon Oakley and Ryan Fleming were bumper to bumper battling for the lead in the CRA Late Model Sportsman feature.
Kil-Kare Speedway’s oval, which now sits idle, featured four races Sunday evening with the Vore’s Compact Touring Series, CRA Street Stocks and Late Model Sportsman and a FWD/Compact Enduro event. Shadybowl Speedway, Vore’s CTS and the CRA teamed up to lease Kil-Kare for the one-time event.
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Kil-Kare’s dragstrip continues to run every Saturday with packed pits filling out the racing divisions.
An estimated crowd of about 800 spectators and quality racing could convince Kil-Kare to make it an annual event.
“I was ecstatic when I heard we were racing here,” Hoelscher said. “It’s a shame they don’t do it every week. The car count was low so I understand the reasoning. Hopefully this showed them we can do this once a year or something. There’s plenty of fans that showed up.”
Hoelscher won a track championship and about 40 features at Kil-Kare in the FWD and street stock divisions before the track shut down the oval after the 2014 season. The Gem City Auto Racing group rented the track in 2017 for Sunday afternoon racing. Since then, though, the track that started racing in 1951 has sat mostly quiet.
“Hopefully this showed them the cars are there,” Hoelscher said.
Hoelscher’s black No. 27 certainly was. The Riverside driver led all 30 laps of the Vore’s feature for his second victory in three races. The race he didn’t win came Saturday night at Eldora Speedway. He finished 19th.
“It kind of offset (Eldora). I am by no means a dirt racer. I’m a fish out of water on dirt. It wasn’t a great finish (Saturday) but the win (Sunday) helped,” Hoelscher.
Hoelscher struggled during qualifying and said he discovered some pieces that came apart. One back together the car was “handling like it used to.”
The victory at Kil-Kare over the 29-car field was special. That it came on his late grandfather’s birthday made it especially memorable. His grandfather Louis, who passed away in 2013, would have been 85 on Sunday.
“It’s pretty sentimental. It was extra special winning on my home track for my grandpa,” Hoelscher said.
“It’s kind of nice to be back home. I love Kil-Kare. It’s a shame we don’t have a racing program here every week anymore. I’m glad all the family and friends could come out and support this. I’m hoping they decide to make this a yearly thing.”
In the Late Model Sportsman division, Germantown’s Alsip won the 75-lap feature after a throw-back battle in the early laps with Dayton’s Oakley and Fleming. Oakley finished third and Fleming ninth.
Alsip started eighth in the 22-car field. He took the lead from Fleming on lap 20 and led the rest of the way for a 1.387-second victory over Cambridge’s Logan Runyon.
In the Street Stock feature, Grove City’s Chad Pendleton won the 75-lap feature that started 14 cars. Pendleton inherited the lead when he made contact with Dayton’s Jason Mahaffey, who was running the outside line with Pendleton underneath. Mahaffey, Jacob Muncy and Jim Lewis Jr., both of Columbus, were also collected.
Mahaffey, who had led laps 3-67, finished 10th.
Pendleton, who also led 14 laps midway through the race, won by 1.017 seconds over Quincy’s Buck Purtee.
Event organizers honored the victims of Sunday morning’s Oregon District shooting with the pace cars and official trucks running a lap around Kil-Kare in the missing man formation during Holli Eaton’s national anthem performance. Eaton also delivered an inspiring version of God Bless America.
Drivers also went through the stands for donations for the families and collected about $1,250.